On the Communist-Socialist Divide over Health Care Reform and the Convergence of Tea Party and Socialist Thought

When conservative Republicans denounce the Democrats' health insurance industry bailout measure as a communist-socialist policy victory, and liberal Democrats proudly tout the fact that the law was built upon principles, and includes numerous provisions, long supported by Republicans, who is willing to draw the obvious conclusion that the Republican Party is just one more communist-socialist front group? It is worth emphasizing in this context that, like their Democratic-Republican counterparts, actual Communists and Socialists are in fact divided over the issue of health care reform. As I've noted before, the leadership of the Communist Party have been vocal supporters of the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional majority. It is therefore no surprise that the editors of People's World, the party's mouthpiece, have come out strongly in favor of the new legislation. In an editorial entitled "Health Care Victory," they write:
We join with those who hail this legislation both as a measure that will save lives now and begin curbing the insurance industry, and as a giant first step to further reforms that will provide quality, affordable health care for every person in the United States.
The Socialist Party, on the other hand, strongly opposed the leading House and Senate Democratic proposals:
Unfortunately, the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act (HR 3962), and the proposals being considered by the Senate will not provide the relief Americans so desperately need . . . The primary problem with HR 3962 and the Senate proposals is that all of the changes they propose are made within a for-profit system . . . The Socialist Party USA therefore encourages its members and supporters to continue their work in the single-payer movement and to pressure elected representatives to vote “No” on the Senate proposal and, eventually, on the merged bill.
On his New York Daily News blog, Michael McAuliff noted the apparent irony of the Tea Party and Socialist Party's shared opposition to Obamacare:

Looks like the Tea Party, GOP and Socialists have something in common — they all oppose the health reform bill. “It is a corporate restructuring of the health insurance industry created to protect the profit margins of private insurance companies,” says the [Socialist Party] press release, which is after the jump. Maybe there is hope for common ground after all.

Tea Party activists, who are becoming a force in U.S. politics, want the federal government out of their lives except when it comes to creating jobs . . . 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party . . . want a federal government that fosters job creation. They also look to the government to rein in Wall Street, with almost half saying the government should do something about executive bonuses . . . The activists say they believe the government is on a path to socialism, although they don’t see all federal programs in that light.
In one of the more interesting contradictions from the reported results, 65% stated that Social Security was "definitely or sort-of" socialism, while only 36% stated that the expansion of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security amounted to socialism. Perhaps the greatest miscalculation of those who argued for opposition to the Democrats' health insurance reform plan on the basis of the claim that it amounted to socialism, was in assuming a common and consistent understanding of what exactly socialism is .

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